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Alcohol: A Stress Reliever For Parents?

WASHINGTON, DN (CBSDC): From the “Too interesting not to share” file– can drinking improve your parenting? One study out of the United Kingdom suggest that many parents think drinking can help them cope better. Also of interest, 17% of those polled also said they increased their consumption after becoming parents. There may be some benefit parents can find in the occasional drink, however the majority of child abuse cases involve some type of substance abuse. Because of this we see a very high profile negative effect from parents who drink. Any real benefit would come from a controlled amount of alcohol consumption, so using the ‘taking the edge off’ approach will never be recommended for those with addiction issues. Self-control is a definite pre-requisite.

Still, haven’t us parents had great success in the past without the use of alcohol? Yeah, most parents have had ‘one of those days’ where they wanted to toss back a glass (or two) of wine. Kids can be overwhelming, so looking for an escape might be appealing. The real trick to making this method work, is picking your moments. A margarita might sound quite nice just before you drive the kids to soccer practice, but maybe it would be better to hold off until you put the little tykes down. The report underlines the attitude of many parents around the world who sometimes feel that a drink is a well-earned break from parenting.

Whether you feel the same, or not is less important than being aware that it’s an easy justification to make as a parent. As parent we are role models, so we need to factor this into our decisions–including when and how often we drink in front of our kids. This study shows that many parents see drinking as a normal part of their daily parenting ritual. If parenting under the influence makes them “better parents” imagine how good sober parenting might be. Our takeaway from this study is that -as parents- we have to be diligent of our own thinking and constantly monitor our actions. What we do in front of our kids does matter. Most adults pattern their behaviors after what they saw growing up. We have to always work to be the kind of parents we want our kids to become.


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